Sunday, October 26, 2014
Publisher/Year: Image, 2013
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Collects: The Walking Dead #109-114
The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled: no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, the survivors are forced to finally start living. Rick. Ezekiel. Gregory. Negan. Each man holds the fate of their community in their hands... and WAR is on the horizon!
Rick and his crew are mourning the death of Glenn. Especially Maggie who has decided to stay on the Hilltop. Rick being Rick refuses to take it laying down and has joined forces with Jesus from the Hilltop and Ezekiel with the tiger. Yes the tiger.
This installment was overall really good. I enjoyed the interaction between Michonne and Ezekiel. It is nice to see that Michonne has a softer side. She is human and sometimes Rick forgets that as he forces her to pick up her sword once again to kill for him.
I respect Carl more and more after every single volume. He continues to prove how important he is to the crew. He may have pissed of Neegan but he basically showed everyone that Neegan can be easily affected. Carl is such a pivotal character and I am mad that they water him down so much on the show. But I digress, the novel was beautifully illustrated as usual. Seeing the death of so many characters and Andrea come so close to dying really brings Rick to the point that it is truly time to destroy Neegan.
The story ends on a cliff hanger as they are finally going to go to war. I really thought this novel would have the actual war but sadly we will not see the true war until the next volume, Vol. 20 All Out War Pt 1. The fact that it is a part one makes me concerned with how many people will walk away from this one. The original group only contains Rick, Carl, Maggie, and Michonne.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Publisher/Year: DC, 2013
Artist: Kevin Maguire, George Pérez
Writer: Paul Levitz
Collects: Worlds' Finest #6-12
The book's first two chapters are essentially an excuse to put Huntress and Robin Damian Wayne on the same page, and they're likely the best of the book. Levitz could have gone the route of many writers when Damian guest-stars, positing Robin as a foul-mouthed kid who shows up or is shown up by the title character. Instead, Levitz digs deeper into this idea of Earth 2 as a parallel earth, to the point where Damian is nearly able to discern Huntress's origins solely by the similarities between their fighting styles during their initial tiff. The sequence is subtle and organic, and ought prove a good model for how other DC heroes might react when they finally meet their Earth 2 counterparts.
Supergirl/Power Girl team-ups have a reputation for the gratuitous (see Supergirl: Candor, for instance), but when Levitz parallel's Huntress's "not-brother" relationship with Damian against Power Girl's reluctance to reach out to her counterpart, it seems a potentially interesting meeting, indeed (it's coming, but I think in the Supergirl title and not under Levitz's pen). As I've said, I think Levitz "gets" this Power Girl and Huntress pretty well; Power Girl's statement late in the book is interesting that, while Huntress Helena Wayne had a debutante ball, Superman kept his Power Girl nee Supergirl hidden as a "secret" weapon, and that some of Power Girl's outlandishness now is a reaction to that. I'd be curious to see how much of this dissonance with her past factors into Power Girl's mixed feelings about "our" Supergirl now.
Hunt or Be Hunted gets a little wonky, however, around the point that Huntress and Damian track down Apokoliptian werewolves that happen to be regularly stealing money from Bruce Wayne -- why, we never find out, and ditto how this couldn't possibly have come to the attention of the Dark Knight himself. Each of the next four issues mainly involve a long fight scene -- Power Girl battles a dictator's forces before she captures the dictator; Huntress brawls with armored troops before she discovers they're supposedly working for Michael "Mister Terrific" Holt; Huntress breaks into Holt's offices twice and fends off his security both times, only to find that Holt is seemingly alive (while readers know he's actually marooned on Earth 2), something that's apparently public knowledge since "Holt" is participating a tech convention. The action, as in the first volume, isn't an end to itself that forwards the plot; instead it simply fills pages from revelation to revelation in the book.
The scene in which Huntress mourns Damian's death-between-the-pages in Batman, Inc. is moving enough, and Levitz uses well the fact that Damian is essentially Huntress's first "Earth 1 friend." The book does ramp up at the first mention of Holt, since again readers know Holt is on Earth 2 and so a storyline about him will likely have larger implications than just for the Worlds' Finest title (though Levitz shoehorning everything from the first volume's villain Hakkou to the werewolves to the gun-smugglers, etc. all to "Holt" stretches the bounds of sense more than a little). When Levitz finally reveals the faux-Holt as New God Desaad, Worlds' Finest only with its twelfth issue finally seems to be getting to its point. Learning more about the New 52 Desaad is enough to entice me to pick up the next volume, but I feel sure Levitz could have reached the same place in considerably less time or at least with more intrigue.
Artist Kevin Maguire, of Justice League International fame, presents himself well as always, especially on those aforementioned initial Damian issues; modern coloring helps to enhance the nice roundness of Maguire's lines. Equally legendary artist George Perez doesn't fare as well in the book, inked first by Maguire such that Perez's lines seem too dark, and later also by Phil Jimenez (no slouch either), whose style would seem to go well with Perez's but also emerges too dark. Toward the end the book takes on a bevy of fill-in artists, both well-known and not, and while no style is grossly different than another, it contributes to the sense of the book not hitting its marks when the art seems to be coming together piecemeal.
I recalled my ambivalence about the first volume of this title when I started reading Worlds' Finest Vol. 2: Hunt and Be Hunted, and I hoped that the second volume might impress me more when the first one didn't. Unfortunately, the second volume is more of the same -- good characters but a plot that mostly spins its wheels with only the occasional movement. The rub is that the cliffhanger in this one is enticing enough to keep going, but I'll probably be slower to grab the next volume of Worlds' Finest than I was this one.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
The October series of auctions are finally up on eBay and you can find them all here. http://www.ebay.com/usr/cbc4c
BATMAN (2011) #29 DC COVER BY STORM WAVE #CBC4C (351194056787)
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA (2013) #11 DC COVER BY STORM WAVE #CBC4C (351194144170)
SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #6 DC COVER BY STORM WAVE #CBC4C (351194145122)
SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #1 DC COVER BY STORM WAVE #CBC4C (351194145227)
HARLEY QUINN #0 DC COVER BY JESUS CORREA #CBC4C (351194063261)
BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE (2013) #1 DC COVER BY JESUS CORREA #CBC4C (351194142439)
STAR TREK: KHAN #2 IDW COVER BY MEL SMITH #CBC4C (351194067022)
G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO #196 IDW COVER BY MEL SMITH #CBC4C (351194143443)
ACTION COMICS (2011) #18 DC COVER BY JOHNNIE JOHNSON #CBC4C (351194141959)
MORBIUS: THE LIVING VAMPIRE (1992) #12 MARVEL COVER BY JOHNNIE JOHNSON #CBC4C (351194144262)
CHRONICLES OF RACHEL STRAND: VOODOO EQUINOX COVER BY JOHNNIE JOHNSON #CBC4C (351194142872)
EQUINOX #1 COVER BY JOHNNIE JOHNSON #CBC4C (351194143312)
EQUINOX #2 COVER BY JOHNNIE JOHNSON #CBC4C (351194143383)
AGE OF APOCALYPSE #1 MARVEL COVER BY DESI BUTLER #CBC4C (351194142069)
TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER (2014) #1 DYNAMITE COVER BY DESI BUTLER #CBC4C (351194145424)
AGE OF ULTRON #1 MARVEL COVER BY RACHEL IVANOFF #CBC4C (351194142169)
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2014) #1 MARVEL COVER BY KYLE WILLIS #CBC4C (351194142246)
JUPITER'S LEGACY #1 IMAGE COVER BY KYLE WILLIS #CBC4C (351194144020)
BATMAN (2011) #0 DC COVER BY JOSEPH ROBERTS #CBC4C (351194142329)
SUPERMAN DOOMED #1 DC COVER BY JOSEPH ROBERTS #CBC4C (351194145028)
BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE (2013) #1 DC COVER BY RUSTY GILLIGAN #CBC4C (351194142552)
BATMAN/SUPERMAN #1 DC COVER BY TONY KEATON #CBC4C (351194142661)
SUPERMAN (2010) #32 DC COVER BY TONY KEATON #CBC4C (351194144930)
THE WALKING DEAD #115 IMAGE COVER BY TONY KEATON #CBC4C (351194145325)
BATMAN: LI'L GOTHAM #4 DC COVER BY MIKE DOHERTY #CBC4C (351194142769)
DETECTIVE COMICS (2011) #20 DC COVER BY MIKE DOHERTY #CBC4C (351194143007)
SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #1 MARVEL COVER BY MIKE DOHERTY #CBC4C (351194144834)
WONDER WOMAN (2011) #19 DC COVER BY MIKE DOHERTY #CBC4C (351194145586)
DOCTOR WHO (2012) #15 IDW COVER BY DESI BUTLER #CBC4C (351194143142)
DOCTOR WHO (2012) #15 IDW COVER BY JONATHAN MYERS #CBC4C (351194143241)
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2013) #1 MARVEL COVER BY JONATHAN MYERS #CBC4C (351194143689)
GHOSTBUSTERS (2013) #10 IDW COVER BY ANTHONY HARRIS JR. #CBC4C (351194143545)
MORBIUS: THE LIVING VAMPIRE (2013) #1 MARVEL COVER BY ANTHONY HARRIS JR. #CBC4C (351194144351)
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2013) #1 MARVEL COVER BY THOMAS BARNETT #CBC4C (351194143790)
HARLEY QUINN #0 DC COVER BY MARTIN SABALA JR. #CBC4C (351194143890)
MORBIUS: THE LIVING VAMPIRE (2013) #1 MARVEL COVER BY GEOFFREY GWIN #CBC4C (351194144465)
MORBIUS: THE LIVING VAMPIRE (2013) #1 MARVEL COVER BY PAUL ROWDEN #CBC4C (351194144564)
ROCKET RACCOON (2014) #1 MARVEL COVER BY ORLANDO BAEZ #CBC4C (351194144656)
SANDMAN OVERTURE #1 VERTIGO COVER BY ORLANDO BAEZ #CBC4C (351194144736)
UNCANNY X-FORCE (2010) #1 MARVEL COVER BY ORLANDO BAEZ #CBC4C (351194145517)
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Publisher/Year: Vertigo, 2013
Artist: Mark Buckingham, Shawn McManus
Writer: Bill Willingham
Collects: Fables #114-129
Bill Willingham gives us another installment of his nigh-legendary series in Fables, Vol. 19. Before this trade paperback continues the story of the exiled “Fables” in Fabletown, NY, the first third of this edition features the collected back-up stories of Bufkin, the flying monkey with no wings and Lily, his miniature-sized girlfriend.
The collected back-up stories are illustrated by Shawn McManus. His slightly-cartoonish style works well for Bufkin’s revolution in Oz. Couple that with Willingham’s writing, and this self-contained story masterfully transitions from a revolutionary war against a tyrant, into an adventurous love story that follows the odd-couple of Bufkin and Lily until their beautiful end.
I found myself wanting to read more about the duo as their story came to a fitting conclusion. If this edition of Fables only contained this story, I would have been satisfied!
The second two-thirds returns us to the ongoing story of Fabletown. The “Snow White” story-arc finds Bigby (Big Bad Wolf) leaving town in a mystic car to try and find his and Snow White’s lost cubs. Snow White is not able to grieve for long, however, because a mysterious intruder in Castle Dark threatens to destroy her marriage to Bigby.
This story takes quite a bit of time to take off. After the emotional story of Bufkin and Lily, I found myself not caring too much about the lost children and mysterious interloper in Castle Dark.
But (and that’s a huge “but”), as series artist Mark Buckingham’s very grounded art style melds with Willingham’s tale, I found myself gripped with the struggle that was unfolding. I was sucked into the lives of the characters and I’m not sure when that happened. (I went back and looked too!)
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Publisher/Year: Image, 2014
Artist: Fiona Staples
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Collects: Saga #13-18
What else is there to say about scribe Brian K. Vaughan’s and artist Fiona Staples’ Saga that hasn’t been said before? It’s great and you should be reading it. Period. At this point, the only major dispute regarding its quality comes when people argue whether or not an issue is great or merely really good.
But in all seriousness, few ongoing comics thoroughly hold readers in such rapt attention, dying to get their hands on the next installment. With the release of the series’ third volume, Vaughan and Staples show no signs of a slump and, what’s more, this collection finds them augmenting the world with dangerous new locales and intriguing characters.
The bulk of this latest storyline takes place primarily on planet Quietus, where fugitive family Alana, Marko and baby Hazel arrive to seek out D. Oswald Heist, author of the trashy novel/subversive manifesto that inspired the pair’s coupling and subsequent run from the law. Along with Marko’s recently widowed mother Klara and ghost babysitter Izabel, the group takes some time to debrief after the pandemonium of the previous arc.
Saga Volume 3 is less frantic than Volume 2, which frequently darted back and forth in time to provide various slivers of background information. If the third volume contains any kind of ongoing throughline, it comes with the introduction of Upsher and Doff, a pair of journalists investigating the “kidnapping” of Alana. The more the two interview those associated with Alana, however, the more it becomes obvious that the former soldier/renegade mother left of her own accord, despite what the government says. It’s a nice sci-fi take on an All the President’s Men type storyline, albeit if Woodward and Bernstein were also gay alien lovers.
Meanwhile, a secondary storyline follows hitman The Will as he travels alongside Marko’s ex-fiancée, Gwendolyn, and a newly-freed child sex slave who the two rescued from a sex tourism planet. The trio arrives on a new world where The Will is visited, Gaius Baltar/Number Six-style, by a vision of his deceased arachnoid lover, The Stalk. All the while, he, Gwendolyn and the slave girl (dubbed Sophie) inevitably become an awkward surrogate family. It’s only here that the story somewhat stumbles. Toward the end of the trade, Gwendolyn mentions how The Will is “the man I love,” yet ultimately their relationship never feels developed enough to justify a romance, nor the delivery of such a strong statement.
This nitpick aside, it’s truly incredible how, in less than 20 issues, Vaughan and Staples have thoroughly crafted a massive alternate world that’s, at once, unquestionably and bizarrely alien yet still hilariously parallels our own. It’s the type of universe where people can have horns, wings or a single eye, but items such as laundry machines and board games are still widely used. In one of the volume’s funnier moments, Upsher and Doff come face-to-face with an assassin who poisons them. When they ask why she (and her badass dog) didn’t merely slit their throats, the assassin responds, “The only journalists that deserve killing are sports writers.”
Saga’s predilection toward wanderlust and fun is matched only by its moments of heartbreaking drama. The previous volume saw the introduction and development of Barr, Marko’s kindly father, only to witness him pass away in one of the series’ most devastating climaxes to date. This volume sees both the abrupt death of one beloved character and the severe crippling of another. It’s Vaughan’s own way of saying that, despite the occasional flippant tone that the characters take, this is still a dangerous world, and no one — not even our central couple — is safe.